Photo: Starz, Outlander Season 1, Jamie and Claire
I wrote a response piece yesterday, to the Hollywood Reporter article/ interview with Jeffrey Hirsch. I might call it more of a reaction piece, really, but, hey, I’m human. (And so is Jeffrey Hirsch).
So, what’s the point? To stir everyone up and vilify Mr. Hirsch? No. Not at all.
I strongly believe to effect change, actively practice forgiveness, move to a state of gratitude, and eventually focus on the solution (eventually, after processing). Everyone needs to do this at his or her own pace. Not trying to squash any feeling here.
Here goes me…
I am deeply thankful for my health, my family, my work, my community, and the wondrous world we live in.
I am thankful for Diana’s books, so thankful!
I am thankful for the initial alliance and the early faithful screen adaptation of Outlander.
I am thankful for the enrichment I experience, as a result of Diana’s amazing work, and the show, including expansion of mind and being, travel, relationships, and the expression of my own creativity through my blog.
I am thankful for the stellar community of women and men I have developed relationships with through Diana’s (and my) work.
I am thankful for the gift of expression, and the opportunity to send love out into the world, and to receive it.
The Outlander books are a gift. I personally receive them as a kind of living word. They seem to have the ability to affect each person who reads them in a very personal way. They are profound, in my experience.
The early adaptation team seemed to really get this, and we experience that same magic in Season 1. I’m not saying this is wrong, but somewhere along the way, someone got the idea that this work is mostly about a strong woman, and that seeing her as a “strong woman” is what appeals most to the female audience of Outlander. I am actually grateful to Mr. Hirsch for so succinctly stating the perception, so we can discuss, with the goal of better understanding each other, and possibly both getting what we want? That would be pretty great.
I want to make the point that even though Ron D. Moore did Season 1 with the underlying idea that the story was about Claire, it worked. As the series continued, however, gradually, we saw choices to diminish the lead male character, and to “build up” the lead female. It started in Season 2, and by Season 4, it was rampant. The series has done well, so my best guess is that the interpretation by the network is that that’s why it is successful. Someone in a decision making position, is assuming that strategy is working. The whole point of this piece is to say, that’s not it. Antoinette (from our discussion group) says it best in my opinion: “Outlander is about the Jamie and Claire relationship, and how everything branches out from (and leads back to) that.” When episodes take on a different agenda, we still watch, but we don’t love it, and my experience is the audience is becoming more and more disgruntled. (I am speaking for a large contingency of fans I hear from through my blog and the many Outlander SM channels I frequent).
What is my/our ask? Please understand what we do want. We want a well developed, complex, intelligent male character, who doesn’t always acquiesce to the female lead, and we would like Claire to be more sympathetic and aware, a well developed, complex, intelligent female character. We want them to be of equal value, with equal say, complementary, but different: uniquely male and female, true to their respective time periods, and the one in which they find themselves. The story is about two exceptional humans in a respectful, lifetime love relationship. That is really what we want. Creative changes are great, no problem, but please stick close to the source material for who the characters are. (In other words, we don’t want a modernized portrayal of historical characters, aka, happy wife, happy life, and we don’t want to watch Claire save the day and belittle Jamie over and over again, this is really not fulfilling).
That’s it. That’s what we want. There is a big population with viable income and we will leap with pocketbooks flying wide open for the characters we have come to know and love in the books (and in the early seasons). We realize you cannot adapt these books word for word. That’s OK. Just please understand that the reason we watch is really not for the surgeon who goes back in time and gets a great looking guy. Those are details. We watch for the complex, layered, strong male and female lead characters, and the actors who play them. We watch to see their relationship and story unfold. That’s it! That simple. (We do like intimate scenes).
Please lose the idea that you are creating something for the disenfranchised women out there. Your demographic is full of women of all ages, really, (I say my demographic for my blog is about age 35 to end of life), of highly educated, super intelligent, complex women, most of whom have or have had pretty awesome relationships, families and careers (= pocketbook ?).
Thanks for listening. Wishing only the best for Jeffrey Hirsch, and anyone who happens to read this. And I am hopeful that this message gets through to those in a position of influence for Outlander, and that we will see more of the characters and story we know and love, going forward.
Click Here: For Diana’s Response o the Hirsch Comments.
Click Here: For Sam’s Response to the Hirsch Comments.